Kelly Butorac is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The family meal in Ireland is of the outmost importance and is a more significant aspect of Irish individuals' lives than here in the United States. No matter the hectic schedule, individuals always manage to find any given amount of time to sit down and have a family meal. I noticed this at the Park Lodge itself, through the Foyle family. Additionally, at restaurants, waiters and waitresses find it rude to constantly interrupt and keep tabs on your table while you are eating. I found this refreshing; it truly allowed their guests to enjoy their meal and their company. We implemented this aspect of the culture at the Park Lodge through nightly cottage dinners, as well as cooking classes with Geraldine Foyle, and Irish cook.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to study abroad to expand my capabilities and grow. I knew that by choosing to do so I would gain a significant amount of independence and maturity. I wanted to challenge myself in a fashion that I had never completed before. I wanted to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities given to me, and experience a culture in a way that I would never again receive the chance to do so.
I chose the Galway program in particular because of the wonderful things I had heard from past participants. I knew it was in a rural setting, a situation in which I knew I would learn a more significant amount of Irish culture and beauty. I had heard that the setting forced students to become a close family, and that the individuals a the Park Lodge provided a truly unique and wonderful experience. I was drawn to the classes offered and the rural cottage setting. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Galway program is the excursions included. I deeply appreciated the weekend long trips across the country we made. I believe, these aspects are what set the Galway program apart from others, and attracts a unique set of individuals. Ones that I was certain I wanted to spend my semester with.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I would love nothing more than to share my experience with future students who are looking to study abroad in Galway. It is such a remarkable opportunity to give tips, advice and stories to individuals with interests similar to mine.
I would describe my experience as a once in a lifetime, life-changing opportunity. Although with a large group of people, each student's experience is different and unique. It is the most fun semester you will have throughout your college experience, and you will share three months with a group of people who understand your transformation better than anyone else. You will share an experience that nobody else will be able to understand. Because of that, you will gain a group of lifelong friends.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
There is no amount of words to describe how my semester abroad affected me. I would not trade my unique and individual experience for anything. I have gained a newfound sense of confidence that I did not see in myself before I departed. After experiencing such incredible things, I now know that I am capable of virtually anything, and will overcome any obstacle.
I am forever grateful for the opportunities that we have here at CSB/SJU.
I found a wonderful sense of independence as well, and no longer rely on family members of friends to the significant amount that I previously did.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
No matter which program you choose, truly immerse yourself into the country you live in. Don't simply visit there, make it your home. Become a member of your host country. Try new things, take chances. Accomplish things that you never before thought were possible. Do not have any regrets and have the experience of a lifetime.